Having the ability to communicate, and most of all connect is first and foremost in becoming successful. If you can’t do that, then you need to learn how.
Using your imagination, what would your team and your organisation look like with a lot more highly effective leaders? Imagine the low performing leaders changing their attitude, and making the decision to work on themselves with your help.
Imagine how you could help your leader, and the other leaders too. What could you do to help and support them? How could you help them to turn their teams into highly effective leaders?
Thinking about your own team first, who on your team are highly effective leaders? Who on your team are low performing leaders (if any)?
When you go back to your team, what are going to discuss with them? What action will you take to help improve your team, both as a whole and as individuals? How are you going to make your organisation a great place to work? How can you help your organisation bring in new and better talent?
How can you help your organisation retain the highly effective leaders? How are you going to feel when you go back to work and you are with your team? How are they going to feel? How can you help your teammates to start feeling better about themselves, and their place of work?
These are all very direct questions, and you don’t have to answer them all at once. But they are definitely questions that you should think about while you are reading the rest of this article. You should also think about how to answer these questions when sharing the ideas from this article and my other articles with your teammates.
Everybody can improve, not least the low performing leaders that we have on our own teams, and who are on other teams within our organisations. However, for us to continuously improve, we must work on ourselves every day, and to do that, we must have the right attitude.
As we have discussed on many occasions, a low performing leader’s attitude to change or improvement is wrong. So, when sharing these new actions from this article with low performing leaders, we need to work on helping them change their attitude first. We do that by making a connection with them.
1. Making A Connection
To make a connection, we must first show our low performing leaders the way by leading by example. We must commit to not only learning the actions that are in my articles, but by deliberately choosing to implement them for ourselves first.
We need to prove that these actions work, and when doing so, we will start to see attitudes changing.
Our influence will increase with our teammates, and the relationships that we have will become stronger. With increasing our influence with the low performing leaders, we will start to build trust and relationships with them too. Things will start to feel better within our own teams, and throughout the organisation.
Making the choice to lead by example is one that we must make when we want to implement what we are learning in this article. We cannot let others make any choices for us, and we cannot let what we are learning go to waste by doing nothing.
So, let’s make the commitment to action implementation today, for ourselves, for our teams, and for our organisation. Let’s choose to be the leader. It’s up to you.
The first time I made the choice to take action with my team, and help them to work towards becoming highly effective leaders was when I first moved to London. I worked as an engineering performance manager for Siemens, and I was part of a team based at a west London train depot.
2. Why You Need To Take Action
One of the team was a technical engineer called Phil. He was a really good engineer. However, he wasn’t a leader, and wasn’t very approachable when it came to teamwork, or other team based activities. At the time I considered him a low performer because of his lack of consideration for the team.
All he really cared about was getting his work done, making sure the trains were working well, and then going home at the end of the day. He made sure the bosses knew what he did, but not what the team did.
There was one occasion in 2015 when I had just employed a new technical engineer to join Phil as part of the engineering performance team. His name was Freddie, and I wanted him to work closely with Phil at the beginning for two reasons.
The first reason was to try and bring Phil out of his shell, and embrace that he was part of a team, and his job was to help his teammates. The second was to see if Freddie could learn anything from Phil, as he was a really good engineer. Neither reason worked.
Freddie came back to me and told me that Phil was not working well or co-operating with him at all. Freddie asked Phil, “How have you managed to keep the trains performing so well for so long?”
Phil’s reply was, “I’m sorry Freddie you will have to find out for yourself. I am not willing to give away my own secrets on how I do my job well. Nobody helped me, so I am not going to help you.” He was not an approachable person whatsoever, and he was making life difficult for everybody.
Phil was not connecting with anyone, including me, so I needed to take action. I sat Phil down for a one to one, and I asked him the question, “Would you consider yourself a leader?” He replied, “Yes.” I asked, “How?” He said, “Because I am the one who is keeping our trains performing, nobody else.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I continued, “So, how is the fact that you claim to keep the trains performing, and nobody else, a part of teamwork? What was the team’s contribution?” He couldn’t answer that question. He continued to tell me what he had done, and was doing to keep the trains running.
Phil’s problem wasn’t that he was an ignorant person, or had a bad attitude. It was the way he had been brought up throughout his career. He was taught that it was every man/woman for themselves. From his previous places of work, teamwork was not really promoted or supported.
3. Know What Action To Take
So, I decided that the action I would take was to teach my own team about what a team is, does, and how we can make things better by being a team. This was my opportunity to lead by example with my team, and hopefully the rest of the department.
We spent two days in the classroom, and I taught my team “what is a team?” “How can we be a team?” “What my expectations of our team are.” Then finally, for the team to come back to me on how we were going to achieve my expectations.
All I did was listen, I left it up to the team to work out how they would gel as a team, and how they can achieve the desired results.
Listening to the team speak to each other, and to me with such passion on how they were going to achieve my expectations was the most enjoyable part of the two days. I knew it was going to work because of the vigor in each person’s voice, and the passion for the team was amazing.
They connected with each other, and with me. I had taught them how to be a team, and they were now implementing what they had learned. Over the next weeks and months, Phil had a transformation like none I had ever seen. He was becoming a highly effective leader.
He was openly sharing his ideas, his knowledge, and even helped apprentices and graduates when they visited the depot. I was and I still am extremely proud of Phil, as he still works in the same team and is helping the Siemens organisation every day.
4. What Action Are You Going To Take To Connect With Others?
To connect with others, you must build relationships with them, and to do that you must share with them. That is how you build trust. When you connect, you increase your influence. First within your own team. Then multiply your influence with your department, your organisation, and your industry by continuing to connect with others.
How are you going to implement what you have learned so far in this article, and what you will learn through my other articles?
How are you going to help the other members of your team, to work towards becoming a highly effective leader? How are you going to help the other teams within your department, and within your organisation?
To build relationships with your team, you need to spend time with them. You need to share your knowledge, your ideas, your opinions, and you need to help them.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,